Thursday, June 19, 2014

Bummer summer




“Well, you can’t ride your bike but you will be able to direct traffic,” I smiled and gently patted my 9-year-old son on the shoulder.

At that moment, a very nice and understanding nurse was putting his little broken arm in a cast. The flaming, neon orange gauze he chose was sure to be seen by those on the International Space Station.

“Yeah,” my son answered enthusiastically. “I’m gonna get a black marker and put tiger stripes on it.”

I smiled. It was nice that the Little Big Guy had dreams.

...If only his Can-Do attitude had lasted longer than the short ride home from the hospital.

Once it sunk in that he’d be in a cast for the next month, his excitement at the prospect of one really cool summer quickly took a definite downward turn.

Well, more than that.

It was more like Wile E. Coyote taking a swan dive off a cliff, with that little puff of smoke at the bottom, signifying the end of all his hopes and dreams.

And - poof, just like that - summer was officially a bummer.

***

“So I can’t go swimming?” he asked.

“No,” I shook my head. “The doctor said it is better not to.”

“Can I play baseball or basketball?” he asked.

“No,” I shook my head. “No contact sports.”

“Can I ride my bike?” he asked.

“Uh, no,” I shook my head.

“How about my scooter?” he asked.

“Definitely no scooter since that’s what got us into this mess in the first place,” I pointed out.

“Can I jump on the trampoline?” he asked.

For the love of God and all that is holy.

I would pay $1 million right now to have a kid who did nothing but play video games all day long.

Sure, he’d be an anti-social mess who weighed 300 pounds in the fourth grade, but that’d make my life a lot easier at this moment.

“No,” I said. “You cannot jump on the trampoline.”

“Then what CAN I do?!” he wailed.

I took him by the shoulders, looked straight into his eyes and promised like I’ve never promised before, “Don’t worry. I will fix everything.”

***

Ever try Googling “How to entertain a kid with a broken arm during the summer?”

Here’s what you get:

About a gazillion results on Paint By Color and jigsaw puzzles.

About 4,000,000 results on taking trips to the zoo, museums and amusement parks.

And one hit directing you to a blog that details just how much tequila a parent will drink before deciding to run away from home to become an exotic dancer.

We were definitely in a lot of trouble here.

***

Screw working for a living.

Having a broken arm can be quite profitable.

Well-meaning family and friends have stepped up to the plate. Our son’s piggy bank hasn’t been this stuffed since the Christmas of 2009.

New video games. New puzzles. New books. Road trips to cool places. Paying $1 per hole on miniature golf.

(OK, so that last one might be crossing the line a little...but a dad’s gotta do what a dad’s gotta do).

In any case, the kid is making out like a bandit...but he’s still miserable and is a little tired of hearing the word “no” all the time.

So I can’t really blame the poor kid for being a little put out. Especially when I remind him about all the things he CAN do.

Like his daily chores.

“Did you make your bed today and clean up your room?” I oh-so-politely asked one afternoon.

“Are you harshing on me now?” he snarked back at me.

Seriously? Is “harshing” even a real word?

Doesn’t matter. It tripped my trigger anyway.

Game On.

“Even after your arm heals, I can ask the doctor to keep your cast on,” I cocked one eyebrow and folded my arms in a You-Really-Wanna-Mess-With-Mom stance. I leaned over until I was thisclose to his face and continued, “Because I can do that, you know. Just. Because. I. Can.”

He gulped, muttered, “sorry” and headed upstairs to take care of what I’d asked.
That’s more like it.

And I should be nominated for sainthood based upon the simple fact that he’s still alive.
Just two more weeks to go....

Where’s that tequila?